Sunday, 28 February 2010


I have been wanting to write this for awhile now, but it's been very difficult. Each time I start, tears are shed. He would have been 51 on 25 February this year, instead he left us on the 8th.

I have made some of my most beautiful cupcakes for his birthday and I regret not being able to do it once again this year. I really will miss him and so will many others whose life he touched.

Here's an excerpt from his favourite book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It describes our relationship, which started off very simply as 'my friend's husband' and then took on that of a dear friend and secret-keeper.

'What does "tame" mean?'
'Something that is frequently neglected,' said the fox. 'It means "to create ties".'
'To create ties?'
'Precisely,' said the fox. 'To me, you are still only a small boy, just like a hundred thousand other small boys. And I have no need of you. And you in turn have no need of me. To you, I'm just a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you shall be unique in the world. To you, I shall be unique in the world.'

I shall miss you.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

An Affair with Fondant - 1st Date

A truly remarkable experience! My first-ever fondant cake. It turned out so pretty... perfect for the Ruby Wedding Anniversary it was intended for.

I made a lovely Sugee Cake to go underneath the snowy white fondant. My mother's recipe. I'll post it soon, so look out for it if you are a sugee-loving soul.

Not in a million years would I have thought that fondant was easy and strangely, therapeutic. It is a cheat's cake really. I bought Bakels ready-rolled fondant, used gum paste Rubrum Lillies from Cake Connection and some ribbon.

The cake not only looked good on the outside, but was also moist and just right inside. It cut beautifully and my sister-in-law has a tupperware full of cake pieces to devour as she pleases!

Aaaahh... the simple pleasures of life...

Pate Sucree... beautiful pastry...

I finally got around to making the Pate Sucree recipe from Fanny of Foodbeam's website. It turned out beautifully and I am very pleased with the results. It has a lovely flavour and nice 'short' texture to keep me in pastry heaven for a long time. I did, however, make slight adjustments to suit my vanilla-loving tastebuds.

With the bounty of oranges and lemons sitting in the fruit basket, I made a St. Clements Curd to go with the pastry. Okay, okay... so it was orginally intended to be an Orange Curd, but halfway through (after a taste or two) I thought it lacked a certain depth. So, in went the juice of two lemons and an extra orange. I used the previous Lemon Curd recipe as a guide, but decided to go with two whole eggs instead of four egg yolks. (I already have 6 egg whites sitting in the fridge, so adding to that was not an option)

300g Butter
160g Icing Sugar
Seeds from 1 Vanilla Pod
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
2 Eggs
500g Plain Flour
60g Ground Almonds
1/2 tsp Salt

Sieve Plain Flour, Almonds and Salt together. Keep aside.

Cream Butter and Icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add in Eggs one by one, beating well for 5 - 6 seconds after each addition. Add in Seeds from the Vanilla Pod and Essence. Beat for 5 - 6 seconds until incorporated. Gently fold in the Flour mixture until just combined.

*At this point, you can clingfilm and freeze any additional dough for use another time. This recipe makes enough dough to line about four 7 inch tart tins.

*As with any pastry, rest it for about 2 hours in/outside the fridge before using. I usually just leave it on the countertop before using so the dough just rests and does not harden, as it will in the fridge.

Pat dough into a 7 inch tart tin. Prick well and chill for at least half an hour. Remove from fridge, prick again and bake the tart shell blind for about 25 minutes on 150 Celsius. (If pastry starts swelling after 10 minutes, open the oven door and prick all over againto deflate it.) Cool baked tart shell in tin.

100ml Orange Juice, plus zest of 1 Orange
Juice of 2 Lemons
150g Caster Sugar
2 whole Eggs
70g Butter, cubed
Grated rind of 1 Orange
2 drops of Vanilla Essence

Beat Eggs, Sugar and Vanilla until sugar dissolves completely. Keep aside. Put juice, rind and Butter into a heavy-based saucepan. Pour in Egg/Sugar mixture into the saucepan. Over low heat stir the mixture carefully, but quickly with a wooden spoon. Continue to beat as mixture reaches boiling point. At this point, the mixture will start thickening quickly. When mixture just starts becoming a thick custard, take it off the heat, give it a good beating and let it cool.

Pour Curd into the tart shell and put it back into the oven at 140 Celsius. Watch the tart carefully until the Curd just starts bubbling. Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool completely. Place in the fridge to set.